Quartzsite Plans GRAND Gathering 2015

The 2nd Annual GRAND Gathering, the World’s Largest Gathering of Grand Parents and Great-Grand Parents, is planned for Quartzsite from March 6 to 8.

Grand Gathering 2015-Sponsored by the Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA), Grand Gathering 2015 will be a celebration of grandparents, great grandparents, and family.

The Grand Gathering 2015 is themed “The Legacy” and features creating important information to pass on to family members. Live entertainment, special events, food, and vendors complement the event.

The Legacy offers free seminars, which take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, to provide information about:

  • Creating a family tree
  • Family lore: Recording family stories to be related to current family members and future generations
  • Health History: Documenting the health conditions of various family members over time to facilitate informed, quality health care to younger family members
  • “The Five Wishes”:  Preparing key documentation for establishing individual health care directives.

ALL EVENTS will be at the Quartzsite Improvement Assoc. (QIA)

Friday, March 6, 2015

9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.: Health Fair sponsored by La Paz Regional Hospital and La Paz County Health Department

9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.: Legacy Activities (Family Tree, Family Lore Video, Family Health History, etc.)

11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.: Bar-B-Q Lunch

6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.: QIA 50th Anniversary Commemoration and Dinner (the people and major events involved in creating Quartzsite’s first non-profit organization will be capsulized in an evening of good food and fun)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.: Breakfast by QIA

9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.: Legacy Activities (Outside tents)

9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Craft Fair (Main Hall)

11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.: Bar-B-Q Lunch

7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.: Quartzsite Senior Prom (Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra performs live; Bill Tole directing the orchestra and Nancy Knorr performing as a vocalist)

tgg-flyer-11-10-14Note: Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra Tickets Available; RESERVED ADVANCE SEATING ONLY; less than 500 Seats Available (Phone: 928-927-6325; office is open 9 a.m.-Noon)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.: Legacy Activities (Outside tents)

11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: QIA Brunch

1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.: Paul Winer Concert (Main Hall)

4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.: Community Church Service (Main Hall)

The Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA) is the sponsoring organization for the Grand Gathering 2015 – The Legacy.  For the last 50 years, funds have been raised through QIA-sponsored activities to support the town of Quartzsite and local organizations by providing equipment and donations toward identified needs.

What is Quartzsite?

Quartzsite is located in western Arizona, 17 miles east of the Colorado River on I-10.

Quartzsite has been a rockhounders’ paradise since the 1960s.

Today, it is also attracts over a million and a half visitors each winter who converge on this sleepy desert town of 1900 people in a wave of RVs during the months of January and February when over 2,000 vendors of rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, and everything else imaginable create one of the world’s largest open air flea markets.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year.

Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra Directed by Bill Tole in Quartzsite, March 7, 2015
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra Directed by Bill Tole in Quartzsite, March 7, 2015

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

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Festivals on the Go

From scenic drives and shopping to seasonal festivals and fun-filled events, the US Sunbelt has become a major attraction for snowbirds—and the season is now in full swing.

Mardi Gras celebrations and parades in New Orleans, Mobile, and in communities from Galveston, Texas, to Pensacola, Florida, January 31-February 17
Mardi Gras celebrations and parades in New Orleans, Mobile, and in communities from Galveston, Texas, to Pensacola, Florida, January 31-February 17

Various snowbird communities play host to their winter visitors with a variety of activities including annual festivals, state/provincial club meetings, day trips, fundraisers, golfing, pickleball tournaments, and volunteering.

The winter months offer all types of entertainment from symphonies to theatre, Jazz and Dixieland to Country and Folk, you name it. Festivals, parades, and art exhibits are aplenty.

Take advantage of some of the celebrations, parades, and other special activities held near your snowbird roost. Whether you’re a foodie or sports nut, you’ll find a gathering or event that will highlight your stay.

This is prime season for local festivals and annual events celebrating history and culture.

Major 2015 celebrations, festivals, and fairs in the Sunbelt include:

Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show, Quartzsite, Arizona, January 2-11

The Main Event, Quartzsite, Arizona, January 5-25

Gathering of the Gunfighters, Yuma, January 10-11

Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama, Quartzsite, Arizona, January 18-25

Chocolate Affaire, Glendale, Arizona, January 30-31

Texas Citrus Fiesta, Mission, Texas, January 31

Mardi Gras celebrations and parades in New Orleans, Mobile, and in communities from Galveston, Texas, to Pensacola, Florida, January 31-February 17

The Main Event, Quartzsite, Arizona, January 5-25
The Main Event, Quartzsite, Arizona, January 5-25

Tubac Festival of the Arts, Tubac, Arizona, February 4-8

Florida State Fair, Tampa, February 5-16

Lake Havasu Winterfest, Lake Havasu City, Arizona, February 7-8

Arizona Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace, Apache Junction, weekends February 7-March 29

Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, Tucson, Arizona, February 12-15

QIA Gold, Treasure & Craft Show, Quartzsite, February 13-15

Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, Indio, California, February 13-22

Daytona 500, Daytona Beach, Florida, February 22

La Fiesta de los Vaqueros (Tucson Rodeo), Tucson, Arizona, February 21-March 1

Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City, February 26-March 8

Charro Days Fiesta, Brownsville, Texas, February 26-March 8

Yuma Lettuce Days, Yuma, Arizona, February 28-March 1
Yuma Lettuce Days, Yuma, Arizona, February 28-March 1

Yuma Lettuce Days, Yuma, Arizona, February 28-March 1

Sanibel Shell Show, Sanibel Island, Florida, March 3-7

Fulton Oysterfest, Fulton, Texas, March 5-8

Chandler Ostrich Festival, Chandler, Arizona, March 13-15

Dunedin Highland Games & Festival, Dunedin, Florida, March 28

Worth Pondering…

Oh, what a beautiful morning’,

Oh, what a beautiful day.

I got a beautiful feelin’

Ev’rything’s goin’ my way.

Oh, what a beautiful day!

—“Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” from the musical Oklahoma

The weather and setting for seasonal festivals and fun-filled events  are bound to befit Rodgers and Hammerstein’s famous lyrics.

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2015 Quartzsite Show Dates Announced

Quartzsite is located in western Arizona, 17 miles east of the Colorado River on I-10.

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February
Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1856, settler Charles Tyson built a fort at the present site of Quartzsite for protection against Indian raids and to protect his water supply. Fort Tyson soon became a stopover on the Ehrenburg-to-Prescott stagecoach route. It had become known as Tyson’s Wells by the time the stage stopped running and the town was abandoned.

Quartzsite was established in 1867 and incorporated in 1989. A rock hunter’s paradise surrounds Quartzsite with agates, limonite cubes, gold, and quartz being just a few. Named Quartzite because quartz was occasionally found in the area, the name evolved to Quartzsite through an error in spelling.

Quartzsite has been a rockhounders’ paradise since the 1960s.

Today, it is also attracts over a million and a half visitors each winter who converge on this sleepy desert town of 1900 people in a wave of RVs during the months of January and February when over 2,000 vendors of rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, and everything else imaginable create one of the world’s largest open air flea markets.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year.

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.
Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In town, the Hi Jolly Monument honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert. To the south rise the Kofa Mountains. Historic and scenic areas include the Spanish Wall, Crystal Hill, Tyson Tanks, and Tyson Wells Museum. South in the Kofa Mountains is Palm Canyon, a tight gorge and home of Arizona’s only native palms, reached by a steep but rewarding climb. Farther south is Castle Dome Peak.

Tyson Wells Show History

Tyson Wells began with an open lot where an RV Park was developed; the Sell-A-Rama Show started in 1978.

Soon Tyson Wells became known as a leading Rock & Gem Show in the United States. Later, additional land was acquired for more parking, and two more shows—Rock & Gem Show and Art & Craft Fair—were added.

the Hi Jolly Monument honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert.
the Hi Jolly Monument honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tyson Wells has something for everyone with the three shows in January and February, seasonal vendors, self-storage units, and an RV Park.

The Quartzsite Shows

Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show

The Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show attracts rock, gem, and mineral vendors from around the world and runs for 10 days in early January.

Dates for the Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show are January 2-11, 2015.

Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama

The Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama show occurs in late January and also runs for 10 days. The Sell-A-Rama has over 850 vendor spaces which equals roughly 2.2 miles of aisle frontage. You can find just about anything at this 25-acre show.

Dates for the 37th Annual Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama are January 18 – 25, 2015.

Tyson Wells Art & Craft Fair

The indoor Tyson Wells Art & Craft Fair takes place early February each year. One can find arts, crafts, hobbies supplies, jewelry, and lapidary supplies.

Dates for the Tyson Wells Arts & Crafts Fair are January 30-February 8, 2015

2015 Quartzsite Show Dates

You won’t want to miss the 2015 Quartzsite Shows!

January 1-February 28, 2015: The Desert Gardens Gem, Rocks & Mineral Show

This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year!
This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

January 2-January 11, 2015: Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show

January 2-January 14, 2015: Prospectors Panorama

January 5-January 25, 2015: The Main Event

January 16-January 18, 2015: Blythe Bluegrass Festival

January 18-January 25, 2015: Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama

January 17-January 25, 2015: Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show

January 21-January 25, 2015: QIA Pow Wow Gem & Mineral Show

January 30-February 8, 2015: Tyson Wells Arts & Craft Fair

February 6-February 7, 2015: Quartzsite Quilt Show

February 13- February 15, 2015: Desert Bloom ATV Rally

February 13-February15, 2015: QIA Gold, Treasure & Craft Show

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

Read More

2015 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show Dates Announced

Every January something happens that is hard to believe, unless you have seen it!

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More than a million and half million visitors, mostly in recreational vehicles, converge on the sleepy little desert town of Quartzsite, located just 20 miles east of the California border on Interstate 10, for the rock, gem, and mineral shows, plus numerous flea markets and the annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show.

Wherever you look, you see RVs of every type, size, and vintage. It’s the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

“If you’re looking for anything related to RVs, you’ll find it at the RV show in Quartzsite,” says Kenny King, show promoter.

There will be several hundred new and used RVs on display in 2015 and over a dozen service bays will be offering immediate installation, repairs, and service on many of the items that will be exhibited at the show.

This phenomenon started over 30 years ago and is now billed as “The Largest Gathering Of RVers in the World”.

The inaugural Quartzsite RV Show opened January 28, 1984 at the corner of Highway 95 (now Central) and Business 10 (now Main Street) in Quartzsite. With just 60 exhibitors and a small tent, the “new show in town” was still very popular since the majority of the people in Quartzsite were RVers.

Check out the new and used RVs of every type and size at the Quartzsite RV Show.
Check out the new and used RVs of every type and size at the Quartzsite RV Show. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1987 the show, now re-named the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, moved up the street to the Quartzsite Trailer Park which was situated directly across from the major attraction in town, the Quartzsite Pow Wow (the first Pow Wow was held in 1967).

This new home for the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show lasted 10 years until the show grew to a point that the current 3.5-acre show site could barely hold the number of exhibitors that were now vying for exhibit space at this popular annual event.

In 1997 the “BIG TENT”, as the show had become known, moved across the freeway to its present home, a new 20-acre facility, ½-mile south of I-10 on Highway 95 (now 700 South Central).

With the new Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show grounds, the popular event was able to provide over 15 acres of public FREE parking.

During our last visit to the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, we reminisced about how Quartzsite has changed over the last 16 years since our first visit and what future years might bring.

When we first went to the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show in ’99, the RV Pavilion was packed with big-ticket items like RV satellites, tow hitches, and companies offering to install a solar array on your vehicle.

Since then, the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show has boomed and last year alone it drew more than 150,000 attendees. It draws the snowbirds from around the US and Canada.

While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert.
While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Looking ahead to future years, the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show will continue to grow and attract a more general crowd. Thanks to items like cheaper flat screen TVs, smart phones, and affordable solar arrays with charge controllers to power all your gizmos, it is easy to have all the comforts of home while you’re camping.

As RVing gets easier and more comfortable—and more boomers retire—even more people will dip their toes into the RV world, and what better place to do it than at Quartzsite?

As Quartzsite continues to grow and evolve, it will still be a wonderful place for RVers of all types to gather and relax with near perfect temperatures during the day and clear starlit skies at night.

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

We’re going back to the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show again this year!

Quartzsite is an experience not to be missed—and we think you’ll like it too!

Worth Pondering… 

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February. As the saying goes, “If you can’t find it in Quartzsite, you won’t find it anywhere.”

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RV Boondocking Capital of the World

Quartzsite, Arizona, a Sonora Desert community 18 miles east of the Colorado River, on I-10, is the RV Boondocking Capital of the World.

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.
Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The term boondocking, also known to RV enthusiasts as dispersed campingdry camping, or coyote camping, is used to describe camping in the midst of nature without the use of commercial campgrounds and hookups.

As you approach Quartzsite from any point on the compass, you begin seeing them approximately 20 miles away from town: clumps, groups, and temporary communities of RVs circled around common campfire rings like wagon trains of old. Many solo units also are scattered among the sagebrush. In early morning and late afternoon you will see tall, straight fingers of campfire smoke pointing upward from these campsites.

Hundreds of thousands of RV owners, enthusiasts, and dreamers descend on the flat, rocky desert fields surrounding the town. Folks come from all over the US and Canada to behold the wonder that happens in Quartzsite every January and February. They come for the warm sunny weather, and great deals—what more can you ask for?

As you enjoy your time at Q, you can also prepare for your next boondocking trip by getting tips on techniques and hotspots from all the new friends you’ll make. Plus with so many RV experts around if something does go wrong, help is just a short walk away.

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February
Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You can find everything from geodes to GPS devices, and frying pans to dream catchers.  If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, it probably doesn’t exist!

The desert landscape is transformed into make-shift RV parks, little cities within a city. The streets have no name, but the purpose is the same—to boondock in the desert, rendezvous with old and new friends, visit the rock and gem shows and flea market vendors, participate in the Sell-A-Rama, wander the RV show under the Big Tent, and soak in the wonder of it all.

Quartzsite has become a mecca to visitors and exhibitors for rocks, gems, mineral specimens, and fossils during the town’s famous two-month-long gem and mineral show and flea market meet every January and February. From its humble beginnings the now-massive Quartzsite show has grown to epic proportions with vendors offering everything under the Quartzsite sun.

While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert.
While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be warned, though. Don’t come in the summer when nothing much happens. The gypsy-like encampment will have long disappeared. Vendors start packing up in mid-February and are long gone before the snowbirds migrate north and the intense desert heat becomes unbearable.

But come winter, everything changes as the small desert community bustles with activity. RVs by the tens of thousands camp helter-skelter on the BLM land.

Originally built by Charles Tyson, Quartzsite began in 1856 as Fort Tyson, then became a stagecoach stopover called Tyson Wells and this name still echoes in the annual Tyson Wells Rock and Gem show. A mini mining boom led to its renaming as Quartzsite.

What started as a small-town mineral show in the late 1960s in western Arizona has developed into a phenomenon that peaks in January by bringing more than 1 million people to the town of Quartzsite, where a huge RV show greets them.

The 2015 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show will run January 17-25. In 32 years, the event has evolved into the largest consumer RV show in the US.

The show is heaven on earth for RVers. It’s a ton of fun with hundreds of exhibits, live shows, bargain products, and fellow RV enthusiasts. The fact that the desert is gorgeous and the temperature is in the low-to-mid 70s in mid-January doesn’t hurt either!

Quartzsite is a popular destination for snowbirds on its own but many come for a week or two during the RV Show. When the gates open on the first day, people are lined up for a quarter-mile at each of the two main entrances to get in. It fills the tent and creates gridlock.

This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year!
This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Add to that the Pow Wow rock and mineral show and the Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama and Quartzsite becomes the third-largest city in Arizona for a brief time.

If you’re an RVer, Quartzsite in January is on your bucket list.

Quartzsite is a phenomenon, a gathering place.

Let the shows begin!

I’ll see you at the Q!

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

Read More

Quartzsite: Woodstock of the Snowbird Set

During our last visit to the annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show in January, we reminisced about how Quartzsite has changed over the last 16 years since our first visit and what future years might bring.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year.
Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. Numerous food choices ensure you’ll never go hungry! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you pass through Quartzsite in the summer, not much happens. You will see flat desert, some roadside businesses, tumbleweeds, and that’s about it.

But come winter, it’s quite different. The flat desert bustles with activity. Something happens that is hard to believe, unless you have seen it! RVs by the tens of thousands camp in somewhat primitive desert conditions.

Many times I’ve tried to describe Quartzsite to people who haven’t been there, but it’s impossible for them to imagine.

As you descend the last pass into the valley, at first glance, it appears you’ve come across an unmapped city in the desert—there are thousands of small buildings spread out everywhere.

But then you realize that these are not buildings—they’re recreational vehicles of every type, size, and vintage. And wherever you look, you see them. It’s the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February
Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Just where is this gem of a town? Quartzsite is beyond Hope. Heading west toward Quartzsite, you’ll go beyond Hope, Arizona.

Quartzite swells in population to over a million visitors, most of whom converge on the small town in a wave of RVs during the months of January and February.
So what is the attraction?

Well, it’s relatively warm in Quartzite during winter. And it also offers pretty inexpensive camping. But there’s another more important reason people descend on Quartzsite in droves. And it has more to do with geology than anything else.

Quartzsite has been a rock-hound’s paradise since the 1960s.

Today, over 2,000 vendors of rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, and everything else imaginable create one of the world’s largest open air flea markets.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. You can find everything from geodes to GPS devices, and frying pans to dream catchers.

If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, it probably doesn’t exist!

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When we first went to the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show in ’99, the RV Pavilion was packed with big-ticket items like RV satellites, tow hitches, and companies offering to install a solar array on your vehicle.

Since then, the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show has boomed and last year alone it drew more than 150,000 attendees. It draws snowbirds from around the US and Canada; it’s now the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

Looking ahead to future years, the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show will continue to grow and attract a more general crowd. Thanks to items like cheaper flat screen TVs, smart phones, and affordable solar arrays with charge controllers to power all your gizmos, it is easy to have all the comforts of home while you’re camping.

As RVing gets easier and more comfortable—and more boomers retire—even more people will dip their toes into the RV world, and what better place to do it than at Quartzsite?

Surprises await as you wander from vender to vendor
Surprises await as you wander from vender to vendor. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As Quartzsite continues to grow and evolve, it will still be a wonderful place for RVers of all types to gather and relax with near perfect temperatures during the day and clear starlit skies at night.

Quartzsite is just 17 miles east of the Colorado River on I-10. From Phoenix, the trip to Quartzite is about two hours. It is also easily accessible from Los Angeles.

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015.

This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year!

The Woodstock of the Snowbird set is an experience not to be missed—and we think you’ll like it too!

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

Read More

Quartzsite Introduces New Trolley Service

The Town of Quartzsite is now offering a trolley service that connects the Quartzsite Town Park with various destinations within Quartzsite, including Main Street, Main Event, and special event sites along Kuehn Road and the La Posa Campground.

Quartzsite Town Council and employees cutting the ribbon December 18 welcoming new trolley service. (Credit: Joanne Winer/paloverdevalleytimes.com)
Quartzsite Town Council and employees cutting the ribbon December 18 welcoming new trolley service. (Credit: Joanne Winer/paloverdevalleytimes.com)

The route allows for stops along the way with the option of three park and ride areas for riders’ convenience.

This new demonstration service is provided seven days a week.

The Western Arizona town hopes this service will provide a viable alternative for RVing snowbirds and other visitors to driving their own vehicle.

In addition to avoiding the bumper-to-bumper traffic during the peak of the season, the Quartzsite Trolley also provides a much-needed service to those who cannot drive or who want to avoid the stress of searching for an available parking space at the swap meets, rock and gem shows, and businesses around town.

The trolley service is made possible through an agreement between the town and Parking Concepts, a Yuma-based company that provides similar services in Yuma and Blythe, California.

Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The daily route starts at Town Park (North Plymouth Road) and travels down U.S. Highway 95 South to Main Street, then to Quartzsite Boulevard (Main Event), across the bridge to Kuehn Boulevard (frontage road), along Kuehn to U.S. Highway 95 South, to BLM LTVA La Posa North camping areas, then again along Kuehn to Riggles and Main Street, and back to the Town Park. The ride for the entire route takes about 45 minutes.

The trolley operates daily from 8:20 a.m.-5:20 p.m. with no service from 12:50-1:35 p.m.

There are trolley stop signs along the route, and people are urged to park and ride when possible. The trolley has 20 seats with room for two wheelchairs, plus standing for up to 30 people. It also has two bicycle racks.

Fares are paid for each one-way trip. The general fare for riding the trolley is $2 per person one-way, or $5 for a hop-off, hop-on day pass. A seasonal pass is available for $75.
Trolley operators only accept cash. No round trip fares are allowed. Fares are subject to change and exact fare is required. No change is given.

Children under 5 ride free—up to four children. Fifth and more children pay discount fare.

Trolley Season Passes are on sale at Quartzsite Town Hall or Quartzsite Chamber of Commerce or can be purchased through the mail, by sending a check or money order (payable to Town of Quartzsite) and the number of passes requested to Town of Quartzsite—Trolley, 465 N. Plymouth Avenue, Quartzsite, AZ 85346; phone (928) 927-4333.

Trolley operates seven days a week until Sunday, February 2, 2014.

logoThe service expects to pay for the cost with ridership fees and advertising fees that will help make up the cost to the town until February 2, when there will be an assessment of the service to see if it is feasible to extend it longer.

For more information about the trolley or the route, please call Jan Collier at Town Hall, 928-927-4333.

Please Note: Previous postings on Quartzsite 2014 include:

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

Read More

The World’s Largest Parking Lot

Every winter, hundreds of thousands of snowbirds with RVs descend on the tiny desert town of Quartzsite, Arizona.

Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For a few months, this dusty little place on I-10 morphs into what National Geographic calls The World’s Largest Parking Lot.

Quartzsite is famous for its seasonal swap meets, huge flea market, rock and gem shows, the Big Tent RV show, and numerous other gatherings.

When you come over the hills into the valley, it’s like a sea of white out there from the RVs parked all over the desert.

Many times I’ve tried to describe Quartzsite to people who haven’t been there, but it’s impossible for them to imagine.

As you descend the last pass into the valley, at first glance, it appears you’ve come across an unmapped city in the desert—there are thousands of small buildings spread out everywhere.

But then you realize that these are not buildings—they’re recreational vehicles of every type, size, and vintage. And wherever you look, you see them. It’s the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. Numerous food choices ensure you’ll never go hungry! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. Numerous food choices ensure you’ll never go hungry! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tens of thousands from all over the United States and Canada winter here in one of the RV parks or on the vast areas of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) desert areas.

The BLM offers two ways to boondock in the Quartzsite area:

  • 14 day free pass on that designated land
  • Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) just south of town

But, just where is this gem of a town?

Quartzsite is beyond Hope. Heading west toward Quartzsite, you’ll go beyond Hope, Arizona.

This sleepy little desert town of Quartzsite is located just 20 miles east of the California border (Colorado River) on Interstate 10.

The Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA) recently announced the launch of a new website designed to keep RVers wintering in the Sonora Desert up-to-date about the various activities taking place in the Quartzsite area.

The new website, QIA Arizona, is the headquarters for the Pow Wow Rock & Gem Show and other community events throughout the winter snowbird season.

2014 QIA sponsored events include:

  • January 22-January 26, 2014: QIA Pow Wow
  • February 14-February 16, 2014: QIA Gold, Treasure & Craft Show
  • March 6-9, 2014:  Grand Gathering

grandgatheringOther activities at the QIA include bingo (Friday nights), dances (Saturday nights and a few others), shows and concerts, craft fairs (first Saturday of each month), pancake suppers (Wednesdays), and just good old fashion fun.

One of the events being promoted this winter is the 2014 Grand Gathering March 6 to 9 which organizers hope will become the world’s largest gathering of grandparents in one area.

“With more than 60 RV parks and 11,000 acres of BLM dispersed camping in the beautiful Sonoran Desert, Quartzsite is ATV friendly and a rock hounder’s paradise,” said Bernie Martin, a member of the all-volunteer Quartzsite Improvement Association.

Please Note: Previous postings on Quartzsite 2014 Show Dates include:

Details

Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA)

Address: 235 E. Ironwood Street, PO Box 881, Quartzsite, AZ 85346

Phone: (928) 927-6325

Website: qiaarizona.org

Worth Pondering… 

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February. As the saying goes, “If you can’t find it in Quartzsite, you won’t find it anywhere.”

Read More

2014 Quartzsite Show Dates Announced

What is Quartzsite?

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. Numerous food choices ensure you’ll never go hungry! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. Numerous food choices ensure you’ll never go hungry! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Quartzsite is located in western Arizona, 20 miles east of the Colorado River on I-10. In 1856, settler Charles Tyson built a fort at the present site of Quartzsite to protect his water supply. Fort Tyson soon became a stopover on the Ehrenburg-to-Prescott stagecoach route. It had become known as Tyson’s Wells by the time the stage stopped running and the town was abandoned.

Quartzsite has been a rockhounders’ paradise since the 1960s.

Today, it is also attracts over a million visitors each winter who converge on this small town of 1900 people in a wave of RVs during the months of January and February when over 2,000 vendors of rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, and everything else imaginable create one of the world’s largest open air flea markets.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year.

Tyson Wells Show History

Tyson Wells began with an open lot where an RV Park was developed; the Sell-A-Rama Show started in 1978.

Soon Tyson Wells became known as a leading Rock & Gem Show in the United States. Later, additional land was acquired for more parking, and two more shows—Rock & Gem Show and Art & Craft Fair—were added.

Tyson Wells has something for everyone with the three shows in January and February, seasonal vendors, self-storage units, and an RV Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tyson Wells has something for everyone with the three shows in January and February, seasonal vendors, self-storage units, and an RV Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tyson Wells has something for everyone with the three shows in January and February, seasonal vendors, self-storage units, and an RV Park.

The Quartzsite Shows

Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show

The Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show attracts rock, gem, and mineral vendors from around the world and runs for 10 days in early January.

Dates for the Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show are January 3-12, 2014.

Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama

The Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama show occurs in late January and also runs for 10 days. The Sell-A-Rama has over 850 vendor spaces which equals roughly 2.2 miles of aisle frontage. You can find just about anything at this 25-acre show.

Dates for the 36th Annual Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama are January 17-26, 2014

Tyson Wells Art & Craft Fair

The indoor Tyson Wells Art & Craft Fair takes place early February each year. One can find arts, crafts, hobbies supplies, jewelry, and lapidary supplies.

Dates for the Tyson Wells Arts & Crafts Fair are January 31-February 9, 2014.

2014 Quartzsite Show Dates

You won’t want to miss the 2014 Quartzsite Shows!

January 1-February 28, 2014: The Desert Gardens Gem, Rocks & Mineral Show

January 3-January 12, 2014: Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show

January 6-January 26, 2014: The Main Event

January 10-January 11, 2014: Quartzsite Art Guild Art Show

January 17-January 19, 2014: Blythe Bluegrass Festival

January 17-January 26, 2014: Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama

January 18-January 26, 2014: Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show

January 22-January 26, 2014: QIA Pow Wow

January 31-February 9, 2014: Tyson Wells Arts & Craft Fair

February 6, 2014: Quartzsite Flyers RC Fly-in

February 14-February 15, 2014: Quartzsite Quilt Show

February 14- February 16, 2014: Desert Bloom ATV Rally

February 14-February16, 2014: QIA Gold, Treasure & Craft Show

TBA: Balloon Festival, Chili Cook-Off & Camel Rides

Canceled: Quartzsite Hobby Craft & Gem Show

Canceled: Rock & Roll Classic Car Show

Quartzsite swap meet map
Quartzsite swap meet map

Please Note: This is the second of a two-part series on Quartzsite 2014 Show Dates

Part 1: 2014 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show Dates Announced

Worth Pondering… 

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February. As the saying goes, “If you can’t find it in Quartzsite, you won’t find it anywhere.”

Read More

2014 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show Dates Announced

Every January something happens that is hard to believe, unless you have seen it!

quartzsiteAccording to the Arizona Highway Department, as many as 750,000 to 1,000,000 people, mostly in recreational vehicles, converge on the sleepy little desert town of Quartzsite, located just 20 miles east of the California border on Interstate 10, for the rock, gem, and mineral shows, plus numerous flea markets and the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show.

“If you’re looking for anything related to RVs, you’ll find it at the RV show in Quartzsite,” says Kenny King, show promoter.

There will be several hundred new and used RVs on display in 2014 and over a dozen service bays will be offering immediate installation, repairs, and service on many of the items that will be exhibited at the show.

This phenomenon started over 30 years ago and is now billed as “The Largest Gathering Of RVers in the World”.

The inaugural Quartzsite RV Show opened January 28, 1984 at the corner of Highway 95 (now Central) and Business 10 (now Main Street) in Quartzsite, Arizona. With just 60 exhibitors and a small tent, the “new show in town” was still very popular since the majority of the people in Quartzsite were RVers.

Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1987 the show, now re-named the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, moved up the street to the Quartzsite Trailer Park which was situated directly across from the major attraction in town, the Quartzsite Pow Wow (the first Pow Wow was held in 1967).

This new home for the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show lasted 10 years until the show grew to a point that the current 3.5-acre show site could barely hold the number of exhibitors that were now vying for exhibit space at this popular annual event.

In 1997 the “BIG TENT”, as the show had become known, moved across the freeway to its present home, a new 20-acre facility, ½-mile south of I-10 on Highway 95 (now 700 South Central).

With the new Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show grounds, the popular event was able to provide over 15 acres of public FREE parking.

Dates for the 31st Annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 18-26, 2014, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

FREE parking! FREE admission! It’s a FREE, family friendly event…

Estimated attendance 150,000 plus!

69,000 square feet, fully carpeted indoor exhibit area.

Canceled: Quartzsite Hobby Craft & Gem Show & Rock & Roll Classic Car Show

In 1997, a second show—Quartzsite Hobby, Craft & Gem Show—was added. The new show, while on a much smaller scale than the giant RV show, grew to include a Rock & Roll Classic.

It was recently announced that the 17th Annual Quartzsite Hobby, Craft & Gem Show and the 16th Annual Quartzsite Rock & Roll Classic Car Shows, that ran concurrently, have been canceled.

Promoter Kenny King stated that after the economic slump in 2008, attendance and participation had been in decline and the decision was made to eliminate the shows as of 2014.

King also said that they are looking for new ideas for an additional new show that may spark more interest in people staying over after the big RV Show closes and would even consider co-promoting or leasing their show facility to another promoter.

Quartzsite.visitor.guide.coverOK, but what’s so great about Quartzsite?

Many times I’ve tried to describe Quartzsite to people who haven’t been there, but it’s impossible for them to imagine.

As you descend the last pass into the valley, at first glance, it appears you’ve come across an unmapped city in the desert—there are thousands of small buildings spread out everywhere.

But then you realize that these are not buildings—they’re recreational vehicles of every type, size, and vintage. And wherever you look, you see them. It’s the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

Just where is this gem of a town? Quartzsite is beyond Hope. Heading west toward Quartzsite, you’ll go beyond Hope, Arizona.

Please Note: This is the first of a two-part series on Quartzsite 2014 Show Dates

Part 2: 2014 Quartzsite Show Dates Announced

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

Read More